Susan Stripling Photography
Park Savoy Wedding Photographer
As a wedding photographer based in New York and Philadelphia, I often work in New Jersey. While I am fond of many New Jersey wedding venues, I find the Park Savoy especially fantastic.
The combination of excellent customer service, a beautiful venue, and wonderful places to take wedding day pictures makes the Park Savoy soar to the top of my referral list!
Documentary wedding photography at the Park Savoy
Sometimes a moment happens that is so powerful that it is simply an honor to have documented it. At this wedding at the Park Savoy in Florham Park, New Jersey, one such moment occurred and it was one of the most touching moments I’ve seen in a long time.
The bride was getting ready before her wedding ceremony and she was surrounded by her family and friends while putting the finishing touches on her dress and veil.
Her grandfather, who was seated nearby, was simply overwhelmed by the moment and briefly covered his face with his hands.
I saw the action and reaction unfolding in front of me and knew that I had to act quickly to capture the moment in the best way possible, as unobtrusively as possible, and as beautifully as possible.
I chose my Nikon 24-70mm lens because I knew it would allow me to quickly choose the perfect focal length for the final shot. I was ready at f/8.0, knowing that particular f-stop would get everyone in the frame in focus.
Normally I don’t shoot preparation images at f/8.0 but I knew that would be necessary for the look of the image I was ready to take.
I entered this image into the 2014 WPPI 16x20 International Print Competition in the Wedding Photojournalism category and was thrilled with my final score.
More than that I was honestly most thrilled to have captured this image of the bride, her attendants, and her grandfather. That means more to me than any award or ribbon I could possibly win!
I used to run a wedding photography education blog called The Dynamic Range. I wrote a series of reviews of my experience with prints in the WPPI 16x20 Print Competition, and I wrote a write-up of this particular image! The description of the judging process, my score, and how I felt read as follows:
This image, entered in 2014 into the Wedding Photojournalism category of the WPPI 16x20 print competition, received an 81.
We've been talking about these prints long enough to know what an 81 means : Good image. Good score. Good job. Above average....which is good! Good print job. It hangs in the gallery. The judges are happy, I'm happy, my clients are happy, everyone is happy!
This is a good image to show that while one thing has great impact with one viewer, another might feel differently.
I went back and forth between presenting this image just as it was shot, composed with the reflection in the mirror, or cropping it to a square and eliminating the reflection. I, personally, love the reflection. I feel that it pushes your eye back towards the center of the frame, where your eye ends up right on the face of the fantastic gentleman seated on the sofa. Others felt that having the reflection included diluted the final impact of the image.
Is there a right or a wrong answer? There isn't. One crop might move someone, while the other crop might not. And vice versa. That is why I find photography such a fascinating art form. There are so many ways to tell your story, and the composition of the image is just one of those ways.
This is why coming to see the print judging at WPPI is such a powerful thing. The judging days are long, taking place on the Saturday and Sunday before the convention proper begins on Monday. The judging is split up into different rooms. Albums might be being judged in one room while Bride and Groom Together is being judged down the hall, next to the room judging Boudoir/Glamor prints. The rooms are open, meaning that you can come watch the judging. You cannot stop the process, ask questions of the judges, or identify yourself as the maker of the print, but you ARE allowed to sit and watch.
Sitting and watching judging is one of the best things I've ever done to educate myself as a photographer. Listening to the judges talk about the prints and debate during challenges has made me a better photographer, and also eventually a judge myself. The advice, constructive criticism, and suggestions from the judges about what can improve the prints is utterly invaluable. If you have the change to watch the judging, don't just walk, RUN.
(In case anyone was keeping score, it's 2017 now, and I still think that print competition is the best education I have ever received!)
Location: 236 Ridgedale Avenue, Florham Park, NJ 07932.Keywords: Florham Park (12), Park Savoy (12). 1/100; f/8.0; ISO 8000; 38.0 mm.